Download Article Author Info
Last Updated: September 24, 2020 References
Download Article X
wikiHow is a wiki, similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 13 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.
There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 212,026 times.
If you're like most people, the last thing you probably want to do when you're ready to sell your car is wade through miles of red tape. While the paperwork and bureaucracy surrounding car sales can be intimidating, with proper preparation, the process doesn't need to be a headache. Learn your way around the documentation required in California so you can get to what really matters selling your car.
Part 1Part 1 of 2:Gathering What You Need
1Get the official DMV transfer forms. When a car changes ownership in California (whether by being sold or by being inherited, given as a gift, etc.), the DMV considers this a "transfer." The DMV uses certain forms to document transfers. You'll need official copies of the following forms to legally complete the sale: X Research source Go to source
- California Application for Duplicate Title Form REG 227. You can download and print this form online here. X Research source Go to source If you have your original title, you can just use that; you don't need a duplicate title form.
- Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form REG 262. This form isn't available online because it is printed on special security paper. To get it, you need to call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133 and request to have a copy mailed to you. X Research source Go to source If you do not need to disclose the odometer reading (car older than 10 years), you may download and print a Bill of Sale REG 135 (PDF) form or a Power of Attorney REG 260 (PDF) form.
2Be prepared to provide smog certification if your car isn't exempt. Selling many cars requires up-to-date certification from a STAR smog test station. You can search for STAR stations near you here. X Research source Go to source Smog certifications are valid for 90 days you must complete the sale within this time or get re-tested. Note, however, that many cars do not need smog certification when sold. Cars that do not need to be tested include: X Research source Go to source
- "Hybrid" cars
- Cars that run on diesel
- Cars that run on electricity
- Cars that run on natural gas
- Cars less than four years old
- Cars made before 1975
3Be prepared to have your car inspected. The vast majority of consumer guides recommend buyers to have the car they plan to purchase inspected by a licensed technician before exchanging any money for it. X Research source Go to source It is typically the buyer's responsibility to pay for the inspection or perform it personally. However, it's still your car at this point, so you may need to work out an arrangement to accommodate the buyer's request. X Research source Go to source Consider getting a mobile inspection service to inspect the car on your property if you don't want to go to the trouble of taking it to a mechanic.
- Be sure to keep all documentation from the inspection especially if the mechanic finds an issue that may be cause for concern.
4Be prepared to pay a few minor fees. Depending on the specifics of your situation, the fees you and the buyer may need to pay can vary. The fees you owe are determined when the transfer application is submitted to the DMV. These may include, but are not limited to: X Research source Go to source
- Transfer fee ($15 plus tax) X Research source Go to source . This is paid by the buyer. X Research source Go to source
- Use tax (depends on the county and city) This is paid by the buyer. X Research source Go to source
- Duplicate title fee
5Obtain miscellaneous forms under certain special circumstances. For most car sales, the forms above will be sufficient. However, some situations call for extra documentation. See below: X Research source Go to source
- If you are selling a commercial vehicle, you may need Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Form Form REG 4008.
- If you are selling to a family member, you need Statement of Facts Form REG 256.
- If your car is under a lien, you will need the lienholder's release notarized. Note also that there are sections on the transfer forms above for the lienholder to sign.
- If your name is misspelled or printed in error on your car title, you will need Statement of Error or Erasure REG 101 (available here). X Research source Go to source
- If your car is missing a license plate, registration stickers, or other important documentation, you will need Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents Form REG 156 (available here). X Research source Go to source
ADVERTISEMENT eharmony was named the world's #1 most trusted dating app for a reason.
Of all dating apps, users said that eharmony has the highest quality dating pool. Start finding matches for free, today.
Over the course of our 20+ years in the relationship business, millions of people have found love on eharmony...could you be next? Give us a try when youre ready for something real. JOIN FOR FREE
Part 2Part 2 of 2:Making the Sale
1Fill out all required forms. Download the Original California Certificate of Title Video and print the forms in the section above that you need. Call the DMV to request Form REG 262, making sure to allow enough time for it to arrive in the mail.
- If your car is under a lien, this is a good time to get the lienholder's release (as well as his or her signature on the transfer forms).
2Review and sign the forms with the buyer. This is your chance to clarify any misunderstandings and work out any differences of opinion. The most important thing to review and agree on is the price of the sale (documented on REG 227), but it's a good idea to go over all of the documents together to ensure total agreement.
- In addition to completing the forms together, you will also need to sign your car's title to confirm that you release ownership of it.
3Don't forget to disclose the odometer reading. Because the number of miles a car has traveled can affect its monetary value, this information is critical. Be sure to record the odometer reading on REG 262 and the title and make sure the buyer sees and understands the reading. Falsifying this information, failing to disclose it, or tampering with the odometer is a crime. However, you don't need to do this if the vehicle is 10 years old or more. X Research source Go to source
4Submit all forms to the DMV. When you and your buyer have reviewed all of the paperwork, give it to an associate at the DMV. Your transfer request will be registered and logged in the official records.
5Report the transfer to the DMV. As the seller, you have five days to report the transfer. Luckily, you can do this online here, or at the DMV when you submit your paperwork. X Research source Go to source You will need the car's license plate number, the last five digits of the VIN, and the new owner's name and address.
- The buyer must also report the transfer of the car. However, s/he has 10 days.
- Question What are the rules for letting them test drive?
Community Answer I don't know about what the law says (if anything), but generally, I ask them for their keys and driver's license before allowing a test drive.
- Question Who pays for the smog test: the seller or the buyer?
Community Answer The general rule of thumb is the seller gets the smog test done prior to selling the car. The document is good for 90 days in California.
- Question How is the tax paid if I sell my car to an individual?
Community Answer The bank or DMV will calculate taxes due when the buyer pays for the car's registration. You do not need to worry about the taxes as the seller.
- Question Do I give the registration to the new owner or keep it?
Community Answer You give it to the new owner.
- Question How do I sell a financed car?
Community Answer To sell a financed car one must have a release of lien signed and notarized or a notarized letter from the bank stating the vehicle has been paid for in full. Otherwise the buyer needs to refinance the vehicle in their name.
- Question My registration just expired. If I sell my car now, should I pay the registration fee for the coming year?
Community Answer It becomes the new owner's responsibility if you owe for fines, registration, etc.
- Question Do the plates stay with the car?
Community Answer Most vehicles have sequentially issued "standard" license plates that remain with the vehicle when ownership is transferred. If the vehicle has a special interest or personalized license plate, these plates belong to the plate owner, not the vehicle.
- Question How can I return a car I just purchased?
Community Answer In California, there is no "cooling off" period. In most situations, you are not able to return a vehicle you have purchased.
- Question How can I check the authenticity of currency?
Community Answer Meet at a bank for the transfer of cash. The bank will be able authenticate the bills.
- Question Do I need an official REG 262 form if I'm selling my over 10-year-old car in California?
Community Answer No, you do not have to submit an odometer reading for a car over 10 years old. You can print out a bill of sale if you wish. You do not need a power of attorney if you are selling it yourself. Thus you do not need an REG 262.
- If you didn't meet at the DMV, you can submit your paperwork by mail. However, if you do this, you need to make sure that all the forms are filled out correctly, as errors can delay the transfer of ownership. Send forms (with proper postage) to DMV, P.O. Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269-000.
- Notifying the DMV of your transfer within the required five days is very important. If you don't, you may be legally responsible for the car even when it is, for all intents and purposes, the other person's. X Research source Go to source
You Might Also Like
How toWrite a Contract for Selling a Car
How toDetermine the Fair Market Value of a Vehicle
How toBuy and Sell Cars for Profit
How toNotarize a Car Title
How toSell a Vehicle Without a Title
How toCalculate Diminished Value
How toSell a Car and Transfer Title in Nevada
How toWrite a Bill of Sale
How toBe a Good Car Salesman
How toSell Your Car in Oregon
How toSell Your Car Privately
How toSell an RV on Craigslist
How toWrite a Car Review
How toAdvertise Your Used Car for Sale
- http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/title-transfers.phpMore References (8)
About This Article wikiHow is a wiki, similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 13 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 212,026 times. Co-authors: 13 Updated: September 24, 2020 Views:212,026 Article Rating:78% - 51 votes Categories: Car Sales Article SummaryX
To sell a car in California, start by contacting the DMV to request a vehicle transfer form, which they will send you through the mail. If you dont have a title for your car, also request a duplicate title request form. Then, take your car to be smog tested, since you will need an up-to-date certification to sell it. Next, fill in the forms with the buyer and sign them before submitting the forms to the DMV. For tips on how to have any liens released from your vehicle before you sell it, read on!
- Send fan mail to authors Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 212,026 times.